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Sánchez describes Biden as a benchmark for the defense of democracy

  • ​Spain and the United States (U.S.) are strengthening their bilateral cooperation in the face of global challenges such as climate change, science and technology or migration, favoring the creation of opportunities for our companies and workers. 
  • White House, Washington (United States)
May 12, 2023

Sanchez-Biden.jpgThe President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has met in the Oval Office of the White House with the President of the United States, Joe Biden. The visit comes less than a year after the two leaders signed an ambitious Joint Statement in Madrid, the first in more than 20 years, which includes multiple areas of collaboration to deepen the bilateral relationship.

Both leaders have highlighted joint efforts to advance the promotion of human rights, democracy and a rules-based international order on a global scale. "President Biden, I see you as a reference for the defense of democracy, as do many citizens around the world, who would never have imagined that democracy would be threatened precisely in Washington," stressed President Sánchez. "I believe that Spain and the U.S. share common values. We are allies, friends and strategic partners," he continued.

During the meeting, both leaders referred to the war in Ukraine, reaffirming their condemnation of Russian aggression and the strong will to continue supporting Ukraine in the defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. "Together we helped Ukraine. I can't thank you enough," Joe Biden told President Sanchez. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of working together to achieve a just and lasting peace that respects international law and the principles set out in the United Nations Charter, as proposed by the Ukrainian President, Volodymir Zelenski, in his peace formula.

The visit of Prime Minister Sánchez to the White House took place shortly before Spain assumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. President Sanchez shared with President Biden the priorities for Spain's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, especially on issues that affect both countries. Spain will promote an open strategic autonomy, aimed at reducing risks and vulnerabilities in strategic areas such as the digital economy, health, critical raw materials, energy security or food security, also strengthening alliances with other partners, such as the United States. Likewise, relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, a region in which Spain, the European Union and the United States share interests and which will be the subject of the EU-CELAC Summit next July, will be boosted.

Bilateral commitments: Palomares, scientific cooperation, and trade and investment

On the occasion of the visit, both governments have reached important commitments that deepen the bilateral relationship and develop the Joint Declaration of 2022 in multiple areas. Spain and the US are friends, allies and strategic partners and maintain a solid relationship, collaborating closely in areas such as defense and security, especially in the framework of NATO, as well as in other multilateral forums such as the United Nations or the G20.

President Sanchez and President Biden have expressed their willingness to resolve the nuclear waste issue at Palomares, which includes the removal of the contaminated soil and its storage in U.S. territory. Technical teams from both administrations will meet as soon as possible to develop the details of this issue in order to begin work on the removal of the waste.

Both governments have agreed to expand scientific and technological cooperation. In the important sector of space, President Sanchez has announced that Spain will join the Artemis agreements, which promote collaboration between countries with the aim of returning to the moon and preparing for the future trip to Mars. Likewise, with the creation of the Spanish Space Agency, Spain's collaboration with NASA, which has been carried out since 1964 through the facilities in Robledo de Chavela, will be renewed and bilateral cooperation in space exploration, particularly on Mars, will be strengthened. In addition, the Spanish Ministry of Science and the US Department of Energy will promote scientific cooperation with different advanced research programs and exchange of experts in fields such as quantum research or neutrino experimentation, among others.

During their meeting, President Sánchez insisted on the importance of defending the multilateral trade system, with a modernized WTO at its core, which guarantees a level playing field. Sánchez stressed the importance of making progress in the trade negotiations between the US and the European Union -an issue he will promote under the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU-, as well as in the resolution of some pending bilateral disputes, such as the issue of tariffs on Spanish black olives.

Working together in the face of global challenges: climate emergency, digital transformation, migration

On the other hand, both countries are going to intensify their collaboration to jointly face the main global challenges of our time. Spain and the United States have agreed to increase their cooperation in areas such as climate change, migration, and have addressed the issues of Artificial Intelligence, semiconductors and the challenges posed by digital transformation.

Presidents Sanchez and Biden, share the concern about the climate emergency and the conviction that green and digital transitions result in the creation of opportunities, jobs and growth. To carry them out, investments and reforms are needed to ensure that their benefits reach all citizens. The two leaders also stressed the importance of cooperating at the multilateral level, with a view to achieving an ambitious and balanced outcome at the Dubai Climate Summit (COP28) next November, especially with a view to limiting the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5 °C.

Both countries will work together to fight desertification under the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), an initiative launched by Spain together with Senegal in 2022. Spain, for its part, will join the U.S. Net Zero Government Initiative (NZGI), a commitment to reach government-wide emissions neutrality by 2050.

Spain and the U.S. will also intensify their bilateral collaboration in weather and climate observation and forecasting, with a view to further strengthening early warning systems, as well as in ocean protection. The two countries will also strengthen their technological cooperation on renewable energies in order to accelerate their development and deployment.

Migration is also a global issue of common interest. The United States and Spain are committed to working to promote orderly, regular and safe migration flows from Latin America, encouraging labor-based migration. To this end, and together with Canada and the United States, a trilateral framework of cooperation has been agreed upon for the development of regional migration centers, and to expand current circular migration programs, as well as develop a complementary pathway for migrants and persons seeking international protection.

Both countries have agreed to strengthen cooperation in regions of special interest to both. To this end, they stressed the importance of working together to coordinate positions related to security or the development of the Sahel. This expands the model adopted last year, when the US-Spain Working Group for Central America was created, and which has allowed both Administrations to work together.

With regard to the Partnership for Economic Prosperity in the Americas, both countries have emphasized the importance of working with regional institutions and development banks to promote the creation of decent jobs and improve the quality of life of the region's citizens.

Finally, Spain will join initiatives promoted by the U.S. government, such as the Blue Dot Network, to promote infrastructure projects that meet the highest quality standards. Spain will join the Global Equality Fund, aimed at promoting equality, freedom and dignity for all people (including LGTBIQ+ people), and the Global Alliance for Action against Online Gender Harassment and Abuse, to share best practices in the fight against gender-based violence.


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